Siddons sets sights on series glory

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons is chasing a dream series win over England on Monday after overseeing an historic victory at Bristol.

Siddons cut a relieved figure as he arrived for nets at Edgbaston on the eve of the decider, with the NatWest Series squared at 1-1 following Bangladesh's maiden win against England.

"It would be a bit of a dream for us but it's not impossible," Siddons said.

Prior to their dramatic five-run success on Saturday Bangladesh were on the wrong end of a 20-0 record against England in all formats and had not won at all in 2010.

Now they are one result away from a previously unthinkable 2-1 triumph.

Such a scoreline would see Siddons go one better than his native Australia, after the world's number one limited-overs team were defeated 3-2 by Andrew Strauss and company in their recent one-day series.

He added: "We'll go out tomorrow (Monday), do what we've been trying to do the last few games - either putting a score on the board or chase down a score - and anything is possible.

"I've said before there were a few chinks in the armour of this England team and I guess them leaving a few players out of their side weakened them a bit.

"But some things have been exposed and that will get written about and talked about. But they are still a very good team, so are Australia and now we are getting there."


Jobsian police in shock moment of sanity

Apple bars radiation nanny from App Store

Apple's App Store police are barring yet another app, but this time the developers are taking their cause to the public.

"It doesn't use Flash, and it's not porn, so why the ban?" asks Scott Piro, a spokesman forTawkon, the Israeli developer of the eponymous app.

Click here to find out more!

Well, possibly the best answer to that question is: "Because your app is alarmist and pointless."

Tawkon measures — or purports to measure — mobile phone radiation in real time, and warns you when it is of the opinion that you're in danger from the ravages of minuscule amounts of non-ionizing radiation.

The app is available for the Blackberry, and Tawkon says that a version for Android phones is coming this summer. But the iPhone version is being held up, and the company wants to enlist your help in getting it past the App Store police. Not only is it hosting an online petition, but it has also produced a hyper-cloyingmarketing video pleading its case.

The company says it has talked with Apple execs who told them that all they need to do is make a few "minor API modifications" in order to pass muster, but Tawkon is continuing their petition drive — ostensibly so that their "community" can shout out to Apple that "iPhone users are entitled to control their exposure to mobile phone radiation." And, of course, to pick up a wee bit of publicity in the process.

But can Tawkon actually prevent radiation-induced brain sizzle? It's hard to tell exactly what the app does, to be frank. The methodology behind Tawkon's radiation-sensing system, which they call RRI (real-time radiation indication), is somewhat opaque. The company claims that: "RRI leverages unique smart phones capabilities such as GPS, accelerometer, proximity sensors and more to help minimize radiation exposure during mobile phone usage."

If RRI determines that radiation levels are too high, you can take what Tawkon recommends are appropriate "Actions" to protect yourself from cancer-causing death rays — actions such as "Keep phone distant from your body" and "Changing location may help." Phenomenally insightful advise, don't you agree?

Of course, underlying all this palaver about mobile-phone induced brain death is the tiny fact that, well, no reputable study has definitively shown that handhelds cause cancer.

Tawkon carefully skirts this issue by attempting to play the "no one really knows" angle. On their website there's a page called The Debate that links to 45 articles (including one fromThe Reg) about said debate. The Debate is hardly helpful: among the links are, for example, multiple stories about the Interphone study. Some claim that said study proves mobile phones are harbringers of death, while others assert that the study says no such thing.

The Debate also includes links to a video in which noted epidemiologist, oncologist, and electromagnetic radiation boffin Larry King expresses his concern, but doesn't link to the US National Cancer Institute's FactSheet that notes: "Research studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancer."

The US Federal Communications Commission publishes a 28-question "Radio Frequency Safety" FAQ that include the finding: "There is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss." The US Food and Drug administration, which is reponsible for mobile phone safety investigations, advises that: "The weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems."

But who are you going to trust? Government agencies and Big Science institutions such as the Cancer Institute, or Fox News, which looks at the lack of evidence for mobile-phone malice from the other direction and says: "No one has been able to prove that cell phones do not cause brain tumors"?

Ah, proving a negative — a pesky task.

The latest craze among mobile-phone fearers is the dissemination of radiation stats for individual phones. For example, the Environmental Working Group publishes the radiation stats of over 1200 phones, both those currently on the market and those not, and San Francisco recently ruled that mobile phones sold in the Cool Grey City of Love must beaccompanied by their radiation rating.

The average Joe or Jane reading those listings will likely think "High, bad; low, good; buy low one."

We'll wager that it'd be the rare person you'd stop on the street who could give you a well-reasoned damage prediction based on specific absorption rate (SAR) specs, which is the metric used in the aforementioned ratings.

How many average users, for example, do you think could intelligently compare the relative danger — if any — of an iPhone 4's 1.17 watts per kilogram SAR versus a Blackberry 8820's 1.28 to 1.58 W/kg? Or explain why the US government maxes out a mobile phone's SAR at 1.6 W/kg? Or define "specific absorption rate"? Or tell you what the hell "watts per kilogram" means?

Which is, of course, why Tawkon wants to equip your smartphone with an app that'll simply tell you when you're in danger and when you're not, without you having to mess around with tiresome facts and figures. Even though the vast majority of reputable researchers and scientists say that there is no proof of any danger at all.

But fear of the unknown is a powerful motivator. And, at $9.99 a pop for Tawkon, a potentially lucrative revenue stream as well.

Now if only those nasty App Store police would let them aboard the gravy train. ®


Climategate shows the need for openness by scientists

In the age of the blogosphere, blocking facts means science is damaged and public trust lost

Scientists Monitor Australian Climate Change
A scientist checks the effects of climate change on an Australian rainforest. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

"Like it or not, this [demand for openness] indicates a transformation in the way science has to be conducted in this century." That, say many, will be the lasting legacy of the independent review published last week into the controversial emails between climate scientists that were stolen from the University of East Anglia and posted online.

Scientists were cleared, as expected, of any fiddling of the figures to exaggerate the case for global warming. But the review heavily criticised them and the university for consistently blocking access to data and failing to recognise the risk such secrecy posed to the "credibility of UK climate science".

It is now possible to assess the damage. The scientific evidence – showing that the world is warming fast due to human actions and presents a clear future danger – remains untarnished. However, the public's trust in that science has been scorched.

Professor Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and former head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said he wanted the report to "draw a line under this episode so that the scientific community can begin to regain the trust of the public and continue to do its vital work on climate change".

But if there was no great global warming conspiracy, why did the leaking of the emails last November become such a PR disaster? Climate scientists, such as Oxford University's Myles Allen, blame the media: "What everyone has lost sight of is the spectacular failure of mainstream journalism to keep the whole affair in perspective."

The review, led by Sir Muir Russell, does not mention the media. Instead, it examines the reaction of the scientists at the UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) to the pressure exerted by bloggers: "An important feature of the blogosphere is the extent to which it demands openness and access to data. A failure to recognise this and to act appropriately can lead to immense reputational damage by feeding allegations of cover-up."

The review adds: "We found a lack of recognition… of the extent to which earlier action to release information… might have minimised the problems."

Pressure on the scientists, whose once esoteric work creating records of past temperatures had gained global significance, was intense. In 2005, CRU head Phil Jones replied to a request: "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" But, the review implies, the more they blocked, the more the Freedom of Information requests flooded in.

On the same day the Russell review was published, the Information Commissioner's Office published a little-noticed notice stating that UEA had breached two FOI regulations in relation to requests made in 2008. Professor Geoffrey Boulton, an eminent earth scientist and Russell review panel member, said: "We have to move science from a private enterprise to a public enterprise."

It was bad luck that the CRU scientists were singled out, said Dr James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia hypothesis, adding that the group was among the best in the world at climate science. But he said: "Science has to start examining the way it works. This report compares peer review, which is 'pure', with the blogosphere, which is 'impure' – and there's some truth in that, to be sure – but the peer-review process can be exceedingly prejudiced and exert censorship even."

Russell found the CRU scientists were innocent of subverting the peer-review process, through which researchers recommend or reject work for publication in a journal. The review acknowledges the language in some emails could be thought to reflect "partial and aggressive" behaviour, such as this from CRU's Keith Briffa: "Confidentially I now need a hard and if required an extensive case for rejecting" a paper. But, said Russell, "we think it more plausible that it reflects the rough and tumble of interaction in an area of science that has become heavily contested".

Arch-critic of CRU, blogger Steve McIntyre, was far from convinced. In his opinion, "the only reasonably objective inquiry to date", which criticised the behaviour of the CRU scientists, was that by Fred Pearce in The Guardian.The editor of the Lancet, Dr Richard Horton, gave evidence to the inquiry on peer review. What was at stake was far bigger than the climate change science being done at CRU, he said.

"What Russell has identified is the beginning of a revolution in the way science is being done," he said. "If scientists don't adapt to this soon, the trust that the public and politicians put in science will be jeopardised. The credibility of science itself is at stake."


Pics Of Apple Touchscreen Leaked, iPod Touch Nano Likely?

Pics Of Apple Touchscreen Leaked, iPod Touch Nano Likely?

Several pictures of what seems to be a square touchscreen display have been leaked online by the same guys who brought us images of the first unibody Apple Macbook Pro laptop and the iPhone 4G.

Taiwan-based Apple Pro's snaps were taken fairly close and are quite detailed showing that the screen in question is Apple-bound. Interestingly, the site also published a rendering of a concept Apple watch called the iWatch which may be paired with a face camera and Facetime. But that's unlikely.

It is very likely that the device which will use the screen will have limited functionality and some have suggested that it could very well be the screen of the next iPod Nano.

However, given that the current iPod Nano has a screen diagonal of 2.2-inch (around 56mm) and that this new screen has a diagonal of 42mm, we're not convinced. This may therefore rule out any iPod Nano Touch rumours.

The other possibility is that the screen will be used on the next generation of the iPod Shuffle which would then allow Apple to claim that its entire range of media players now have colour screen (and can therefore play video).

However, we couldn't help but notice the series of lines that are present on the screen and which look like those found on solar panels. Could Apple be working on something more radical than just another product with a colour screen


Women bishop row compromise plan fails in synod vote

A bid by two of the Church of England's most senior clerics to avert a split over women bishops has narrowly failed.

A general synod vote went against compromise proposals, offering safeguards for objectors, put by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

They were backed by a majority of the houses of bishops and laity, but not of the House of Clergy, meaning they fell.

The Archbishop of York earlier urged an end to the "spin and propaganda" against the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The two clerics are trying to stop a split over the women bishops issue which divides liberals and traditionalists.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams had earlier insisted that the concessions did not represent a "loyalty" test to himself and Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

We recognise their good intentions in trying to help us all to hold together but I do not believe that this is good news

The Venerable Christine AllsoppArchdeacon of NorthamptonSend us your comments

"We should both be very disappointed if this was seen as some kind of covert loyalty test. Synod must scrutinise our suggestion in the way it would scrutinise any other," he said.

Before the vote Dr Sentamu told the general synod of the Church of England "enough is enough" over the "general disregard for truth" about Dr Williams.

Dr Sentamu said he was "deeply saddened" that there was not only a "general disregard for the truth, but a rapacious appetite for 'carelessness'."

He said this was "compounded by spin, propaganda and the resort to misleading opinions paraded as fact, regarding a remarkable, gifted and much-maligned Christian leader I call a dear friend and trusted colleague - one Rowan Williams".

Impassioned speeches

The two most senior figures in the Church were urging synod members to support a last-ditch compromise deal aimed at avoiding a split over the introduction of women bishops.

They proposed that a female bishop would have full authority in her diocese but "in practice refrain from exercising" certain functions in a parish which objected to her.

A "complementary bishop" would have independent powers, and the powers of the two bishops would be "co-ordinate".

Some 216 members voted in favour of the archbishops' proposals, and 191 against. But the result in the House of Clergy was 90 against and 85 in favour, with five abstentions.

Under the rules, the proposals were lost as they failed to achieve a majority in each of the houses.

Impassioned speeches were made both in favour and against the proposals.

Gay bishop pressure

The concession would have strengthened the legal position of male bishops ministering in dioceses where parishes objected to women bishops.

But pro-women's ordination campaigners had claimed they could lead to a "two-track episcopacy".

The Venerable Christine Allsopp, Archdeacon of Northampton, told the synod she was "dismayed" by the compromise being put.

"We recognise their good intentions in trying to help us all to hold together but I do not believe that this is good news, I do not believe that this will deliver and it is certainly not good news for women clergy," she said.

The general synod also voted against an amendment that proposed three new dioceses to cater for objectors to women bishops.

Also proposed in the rejected amendment was the idea that male bishops appointed to minister in these dioceses would declare that they would not participate in the consecration of a woman bishop or priest.

Dr Williams is also under pressure after the Crown Nominations Commission blocked the appointment of the openly gay Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, as the new Bishop of Southwark.


Exclusion zone remains around Heathrow cargo fire site

Heathrow fireFirefighters are cooling down propane cylinders at the warehouse

About 50 firefighters remain at a west London warehouse at Heathrow Airport tackling the remnants of a blaze.

It is believed the incident began on Friday afternoon after a forklift truck caught fire at the Servisair Warehouse.

A five metre exclusion zone is in place around Stansted Road and people heading to the airport were warned to expect severe disruptions.

Firefighters are trying to cool down propane cylinders and structural engineers are also at the scene.

Flight schedules were unaffected as the airfield remained open.

No injuries

Fire station manager Seth Why said: "We just have a few hot spots remaining which the crew are currently putting out.

"We are going to be working with the owners of the warehouse to leave the building in as safe a condition as possible for them to see the damage."

Police have set up cordons at Stirling Road junction with the Southern Perimeter Road, Sealand Road junction with the Southern Perimeter Road, Beacon roundabout and the south-west access to the Western Perimeter Road.

More than 200 people were evacuated from the area following the fire but no-one was injured.

Witnesses also reported a small number of explosions, possibly from some gas cylinders at the site.


Israeli navy on alert as Libyan aid ship heads for Gaza

Foreign minister warns that vessel carrying activists and supplies will not be permitted to break Gaza blockade

Palestinians gather at the port in Gaza city
Israel has strictly maintained its blockade of Gaza port. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

A Libyan ship carrying aid and activists is heading for Gaza in a mission that Israel has described as an "unnecessary provocation".

The Israeli navy is monitoring the vessel's progress and preparing to intervene if it continues on a course to Gaza.

"I say very clearly, no ship will arrive in Gaza. We will not permit our sovereignty to be harmed," the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said in a radio broadcast.

The ship, Amalthea, sailed from Greece at the weekend. It is carrying up to 15 activists and 2,000 tonnes of food and medicine, according to the organisers, a charity chaired by a son of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

The new attempt to break the naval blockade of Gaza comes six weeks after the Israeli navy's lethal interception of a flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists were killed. The assault prompted a wave of international condemnation and resulted in Israel agreeing to ease its blockade of Gaza.

However, it is strictly maintaining its sea blockade, saying it fears that any relaxation could lead to arms being shipped to militants in Gaza.

The Amalthea's captain was quoted as saying: "I haven't received any instructions to change the ship's original course. I am sailing to Gaza." The crew were expecting to reach Gaza on Wednesday.

"We hope the Israelis will not ban the ship from entering the port of Gaza," Youssef Sawani, director of the Libyan charity organising the trip, told Reuters.

"If they decide to do so we have no means to object to that. This is a peaceful mission. Our sole goal and intention is to have the goods delivered to those who need it. It is not to make an event or a show in high seas."

Israel has made intense diplomatic efforts to ensure the Amalthea does not approach Gaza.

Greece, from where the boat sailed, Moldova, under whose flag the boat is operating, and Egypt all agreed the Amalthea should be directed to El-Arish in Egypt, where its cargo would be unloaded, inspected and transferred to Gaza, Israeli officials said.

Gabriela Shalev, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, wrote to the secretary general Ban Ki-moon, saying: "This mission is completely unwarranted ... We are deeply concerned that the true nature of its actions remains dubious."

She urged the international community to exert influence on Libya "to prevent the ship from departing to the Gaza Strip".

A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said: "We are concerned about another political provocation. Libya is not a country that is heading efforts to protect human rights."

Israel claims it has the right under international law to prevent ships violating its naval blockade on Gaza.

The Israeli military is keen to avoid another confrontation at sea. "Everyone hopes this will be dealt with diplomatically," a spokesman said.

An investigation into the 31 May assault on the flotilla, commissioned by the Israeli military, has been completed and non-classified excerpts are expected to be made public this week.

The inquiry, which was restricted to examining the military preparations for dealing with the flotilla, is expected to be critical of intelligence, planning and co-ordination.

A broader investigation, the Turkel commission – instigated by the Israeli government – has begun examining the circumstances surrounding the flotilla's interception, although it is not expected to report for several months.

Postmortems into the nine activists killed on board the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, may be published this week. Initial reports suggested that some of the dead had multiple gunshot wounds.

The assault on the Mavi Marmara led to a serious breach in diplomatic relations between Israel and it regional ally, Turkey. The Ankara government has insisted on an apology and an international investigation, without which it has threatened to sever ties.


PM: Israel-US alliance strong

Netanyahu: Israel wants direct negotiations with PA.

Netanyahu said that he reiterated to Obama "Israel's desire to proceed immediately to direct negotiations with the PA, with the goal being to advance the diplomatic process and try to reach a peace agreement."

Regarding the Iranian threat Netanyahu talked of the "the danger of Iran achieving nuclear weapons and thereby threatening not only Israel, the Middle East and the peace therein but the entire world as well."

Netanyahu stated that "President Obama and the White House reiterated the American commitment to important strategic understandings with the State of Israel in this area."

The release of Gilad Schalit was also discussed while Netanyahu was in the US and he said at the cabinet meeting that he "asked the President to use his full strength and influence to help us in achieving Gilad's release after four years of captivity, in which he was been denied any Red Cross visits – another war crime being perpetrated byHamas."

Netanyahu also discussed his meetings with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying he spoke with them about the diplomatic process and Israel's plans to strengthen itself in the face of the possible plans of others in the region.

Netanyahu stated that he planned to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt on Tuesday to discuss ways in which progress in negotiations can be achieved.

In addition to discussing the re-starting of direct negotiations with the Palestinians, Israeli officials said Netanyahu will brief Mubarak about his talks with Obama in Washington and about the changes in Israel’s policy regarding the blockade of Gaza.

The announcement that Netanyahu will enlist Mubarak's help in gaining direct talks comes days after the prime minister met Obama in Washington and implored him to pressure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to face to face negotiations.

Obama on Friday phoned PA President Mahmoud Abbas and urged him to change his mind about holding direct talks with Israel, according to a Palestinian official inRamallah.


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